Title: I'll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Blurb from Goodreads:
If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.
Let me first start off by saying how wonderful Heather Demetrios is for giving us this wonderful story about a Marine. Not many authors have dived into this type of story and I absolutely loved Demetrios for taking the punch. I think I love her more for it after reading the author's note about how dear this book was to her and about her dad and brother. Seriously, this will be forever a new favorite of mine because it reminds me of my own grandfather who served and suffered from PTSD.
So without further adieu, let's talk about these characters. Demetrios paints such a vivid and wonderful story about this girl named Skylar who lives in a "blink town" (blink-and-you'll-miss-it) who is desperately trying to get out. She works at the Paradise motel trying to make enough money to go to college and take care of her alcholic mother who just lost her job. I enjoyed reading about Skylar because she was straightedge and this was the first book I have ever read that even mentioned the lifestyle and I loved it! Skylar goes through so many problems and it's just heartbreaking because she tries so hard to make a better life. She takes on so many responsibilities and burdens. She deserves more than she's been handed and the fact that she can still laugh and smile is truly inspiring. She learns to love Josh even through his setbacks and closed-doors attitude. I was rooting for her the whole book and was so heartbroken when she wasn't going to decide to go to school. This girls deserves all her dreams to come true!
Now Josh. Let's talk about this wonderful man named Josh Mitchell. Whew! This man is amazing. He is so strong for continuing to fight his battles. I was so worried that he would let his demons win because he was so consumed by guilt over what happened in Afghanistan and losing his unit and leg that I really thought he just wouldn't be able to see that he deserved better. This was his second chance at life. We see how much pain he is facing over losing his buddy Nick and how much he blames himself. We see his struggle over losing his leg and the "phantom pain" and PTSD when little triggers send him back, as well as his attempt to go back living in society. Seeing his struggle and fight to overcome these battles was truly amazing to read. Because you can't do anything but want him to overcome his pain. You hear about so many guys who suffer the same effects from war who end their lives because they see no better way. I think this is why it's so important and inspiring for Demetrios to give us this type of character. I can't even begin to explain how overjoyed I am that Josh got everything he deserved. He got peace, happiness and the girl! (:
I can't recommend this book enough. I'd rate it SIX STARS if I could! It was just that wonderful that I devoured this beauty in a day!